How to join up your financial and employee wellbeing strategies

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Neil Hugh

July 06, 2023

3 mins read

Looking to build both a financial and employee wellbeing strategy into your business? Combining the two can be a more effective way of delivering a holistic benefits package. 

Employee wellbeing continues to be a priority for the majority of workplaces. In their report, Health and wellbeing at work 2022, The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that employee wellbeing is on 70% of senior leaders’ agendas – up from 55% in 2018.

Similarly, employers are increasingly recognising the importance of financial wellbeing. Insights from Standard Life’s annual employer survey show that 9 in 10 employers say financial wellbeing is important – a trend that’s continued over the last two consecutive years.

It’s clear that both are a priority to employers. But rather than approach them as separate strategies, it can be more effective to tackle them as one. Indeed, financial and employee wellbeing are closely linked and share many of the same elements – so joining them up can be a good way to bolster your employee benefits package.

Employee wellbeing vs financial wellbeing

Financial wellbeing encompasses many areas of an employee’s financial life. An employee is likely to feel financially well if they feel secure and in control of their money. That means:

  • They know how much money they have coming in and going out
  • They’re able to meet short-term priorities like mortgage or rent payments
  • They’re saving for the long term – such as into a pension plan

Employee wellbeing, on the other hand, is more holistic. It looks at the whole picture of an employee’s world including physical and mental health, work-life balance, social relationships and – notably – their financial wellbeing.

So in essence, financial wellbeing is a significant part of an employee’s overall wellbeing. It’s one of many core elements that affect an employee’s day-to-day life.

Furthermore, both financial and employee wellbeing have the same positive impacts within the workplace. They can both:

  • Enhance productivity and performance
  • Prevent absenteeism and stress
  • Improve retention and recruitment

Combining your employee and financial wellbeing strategies could help strengthen your total reward package and make it easier for employees to understand what support is on offer. With your strategies aligned, it could help boost the benefits that good employee and financial wellbeing can bring.

Tips to combine your financial and employee wellbeing strategies

Whether you’re building a strategy from scratch or adding to your existing one, here are some tips that could help you bring your strategies together.

Review your benefit scheme

Is your benefit scheme working hard enough to support your employee and financial wellbeing strategies?

In light of rising costs, it’s a good idea to look at ways to support employees who may be struggling to keep on top of their money. Standard Life’s Money Mindset, created in partnership with Moneyhub, includes budgeting and spending analysis tools that can help employees to monitor their spending, and could help them feel more in control of their finances.

In addition, consider if any workplace perks you may have bring real value to your employees. For instance, you could provide a free or subsidised gym membership to support an active and healthy lifestyle. As well as the physical benefits, exercise is known to improve mental health by encouraging better sleep and helping reduce stress and anxiety. This can feed into supporting employees’ financial wellbeing too.

Enhance your existing employee assistance programme

Your employee assistance programme (EAP) is a good place for bringing your financial and employee wellbeing strategies together. 

EAPs provide a range of counselling and referral services that can support employees through a variety of personal or professional pressures that can affect their health and wellbeing. This makes it a good fit for adding dedicated financial wellbeing support. 

For example, you could include referrals to independent money and debt advice services, such as the government’s Money and Pensions Service and MoneyHelper. These can offer practical guidance to help employees manage their money, as well as point them towards free and local debt advisers.

Providing financial education materials could also help improve employees’ financial knowledge, which could help them make better-informed decisions about their finances as a result. For Standard Life workplace pension scheme members, they can get access to bitesize financial content and videos through Money Mindset, allowing them to boost their knowledge during moments of downtime. 

Simply by evolving your EAP to include financial wellbeing support, it gives employees a one-stop-shop for finding the guidance they need, when they need it.

Strengthen your mental health support

There’s a strong link between financial worry and poor mental health. Employees who are worried about money are more likely to experience increased stress, disturbed sleep, and issues with concentration. This can have an impact on their physical and mental health, and overall wellbeing.

Fortunately, talking about money can really help. Research by the Money and Pensions Service shows that people who talk about money can:

  • Feel less stressed or anxious 
  • Build their financial confidence
  • Make better financial decisions

As an employer, you can help encourage conversations about money by creating a safe and non-judgemental space for employees to talk.

Adding a mental health first aider (MHFA) programme to your existing EAP or wellbeing strategy could help create the space your employees need. MHFAs can be a reassuring presence to employees who may be struggling under the weight of financial worry, and can also provide signposting to external resources if needed.

For more insights on financial wellbeing, including resources on how you can help support your employees, visit our Financial Wellbeing hub and read our articles.

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